Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting
Mitt Romney meets Thursday with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham.
October 16th, 2012
02:53 PM ET

Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev.  Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham's mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

In a section of the website called Billy Graham's My Answer there had been the question "What is a cult?"

Answer: "A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith."

"Some of these groups are Jehovah's Witnesess, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spritualists, Scientologists, and others," the site continued.

No longer. On Tuesday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed that page has recently been removed from the site.

“Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Ken Barun, chief of staff for the association, told CNN in a statement. "We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."

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Romney is a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of which are known as Mormons.

The information about cults can be found on cached sections of the website on Archive.org from June 5, 2010.

The theological question of where Mormons fit on the religious spectrum has drawn more attention because of Romney's candidacy. Mormons consider themselves to be strong Christians. Many traditional Christian denominations disagree, though rank-and-file members have their own views on the matter.

The removal of the post from the Graham group's website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website and then later by the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that the information on cults was accessed as recently as Thursday afternoon.

Last week's meeting between Romney and Graham was their first.

After the 30 minute sit-down in Montreat, North Carolina, just outside Asheville, Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters that Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

The evangelist who has been called America's pastor and has prayed with every American president since Harry Truman said in a statement following the meeting that "It was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney — for his family and our country."

Graham met with President Barack Obama in 2010 and with Sen. John McCain when he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in 2008.

"I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads," Graham's statement continued. "I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms."

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When asked about Graham's beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that "Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations.

"Neither did Mr. Graham attempt to divide his audience before he had opportunity to preach to them. He has a genuine love for all people, and faithfully proclaimed the love of God to everyone, providing opportunity for them to respond by making a faith commitment.

"Mr. Graham’s calling is not to pass judgment, but to proclaim the biblical truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven, allowing every individual and group to fall along that plumb line," the statement went on.

"He further stressed that salvation is the work of Almighty God, and that only He knows what is in each human heart," the statement said.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, lists the LDS Church as a theological cult.  The Catholic Church also does not recognize Mormon baptisms as being theologically compatible with its own.

The LDS Church has long bristled at being called a cult.  Mormons note the many similarities and overlap between their teachings and that of other churches but point to their belief in other scriptures like the Book of Mormon as the reason they split with other churches.

In the 2012 campaign Romney has been generally quiet about his church, though his role as a lay church leader was prominently featured in the Republican National Convention, and his campaign has allowed members of the press pool accompanying Romney to film him attending services.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity

soundoff (4,065 Responses)
  1. Cbryan

    "Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?"

    Doesnt anyone believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever? If so then why would apostles and prophets be important in ancient times and not today? Why would God cease to providing us prophets and apostles today to deliver us His word?

    October 17, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • loucozz

      He still does Bryan. What he does not do is send prophets that contradict his word. Jesus is the ONLY begotten son of God. Mormonism states Satan is his brother, therefore any prophet from mormonism is a false one.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      Too bad. There were many "sons" of god. The ti'tle was given to many. It meant "good guy".

      October 17, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • loucozz

      Right and wrong Mr. Dead Jesus. The words you're referencing also meant judge but the "ONLY begotten son," is a new testament reference meaning equal with God. You can find a similar reference in Daniel chapter 3. Jesus also states claim to this as he states he is the " I Am."

      October 17, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      Nope. The church FOUGHT about the meaning of that for hundreds of years. It was called the "filioque procedit" debate in the Councils. HUMANS, in a human process decided what they wanted it to mean. Jesus "claimed nothing" He even said "only the Father knows". He did NOT claim equality. For a Jew to claim equality would be a crime, and unthinkable. and he would be stoned.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • End Religion

      The bible is a fraud and certainly nothing to turn to when one needs facts. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow: bullshit.


      October 17, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      Show me the verse in Daniel, I'll shoot 'er down. NO Jew would claim equality.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • loucozz

      Mr. Dead Jesus. They picked up stones to stone Jesus 6 times, just like you said. Pharisees themselves ripped their clothes in front of him showing he claimed equality. He forgave sins. He let people worship him. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the father. You lose 🙂

      October 17, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      Prove any of it. He said "come follow me", NOT "come worship me". They never once "worshiped him". Too bad you loose. Time to take a bible class. Jesus never existed. There is not a shred of evidence for him.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      "ripping clothes" just means they were mad. It proves nothing. That's a good one.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      Next you'll probably tell me miracles prove something, or that the zombiw Jesus rose from the dead. Hahahaha

      October 17, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • loucozz

      1. Ripping meant Blasphemy.
      The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ,e the Son of God.”

      64“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

      65Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66What do you think?”

      October 17, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • loucozz

      2. Worship.

      "And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Hail!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him... And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted." Matthew 28:9, 17

      October 17, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      First of all, there were NO witnesses at the trial, (if there ever was one). The trials are all different. First it says they all ran away, then there was a witness ? Who was it ? The idea that one of the followers was IN the room when he asked that is beyond ridiculous.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • loucozz

      Equality with God:

      Jn 5:16-18 “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father has been working ‘till now, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

      October 17, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      The "son of man" does not mean he was referring to himself. The writers "placed" those words in his mouth. You are SO uneducated about scripture, and Hebrew culture.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      Don't quote the Babble to me. Give me an external source, or STFU.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • loucozz

      Insults show lack of knowledge. Seek truth and not proof for your own comfort and you will be set free 🙂 May the Lord open your eyes this very night, to the grace he holds out, that you dismiss. " And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son."

      October 17, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • loucozz

      When did they pierce God?

      October 17, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      I see you concede. Another atheist that knows more about your cult than you do. Have a good night. Take a Bible class, when you get a job.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • loucozz

      Here's another question for you to chew on...This scripture "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his." Is thought of a a clear messianic prophecy. The scepter was widely known to Jewish scholars as capital punishment. When it was taken away from Judah the messiah had to be on the seen or the bibles wrong. It was taken away in 30 AD. Jesus was around. Good night dude.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • loucozz

      PS. some of your comments are kind of funny. Really. Have a good night, appreciated the chat.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  2. jimbenison

    Americans are seriously considering putting a guy in the white house that believes New York con artist Joseph Smith is the prophet.

    Warren Jeffs for President.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • End Religion

      It's a saddening idea but we play the cards we're dealt. Hopefully he won't be elected but one never can tell. There are always surprisingly more loonies out there than one expects.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  3. 4HIM

    Mormans are fine people but thet believe that they can become gods and rule planets. Look it up. The bible says there is one God. How can this non biblical doctrine not be from a cult? They also believe that there is a council of Gods which includes The Heavenly Father, Jesus and Satin who they claim are brothers. How can that not be a cult? All these doctrines from the Book of Mormon are not in the Jewish or New Testament. I do not wast a person who thinks they will become a god with their finger on an atomic bomb button. Billy Grahm is Losing his mind.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  4. Brett

    Wow, the same people who call themselves educated and for equality sit here and bash on mormons. Its ridiculous in a world where people are supposed to be treated equal, they arent. Go back to the holes where you came from. I work with two mormons and both are kinder, less biased and more accepting than 90% of the people here commenting. Get a life or quit living a 2 faced one.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • loucozz

      Brett, you are confusing 2 points. Mormons as nice people. Mormonism as a worship(knowingly or unknowingly) of a false Christ. Both are true.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • deb

      If you listen to Mitt he keeps refering to one God, actually Mormons believe in more than one God and please don't tell me that is not true I was Mormon, and they beieve they are the only true church so there is not tolerance for others and their beliefs, the Mormos job is to turn you into a Mormon. They also swear a blood oath to obey their prophet

      October 17, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  5. deb

    Mitt Romney believes Joseph Smith translated an addition to the Bible by looking in a magic hat...that is Mormon doctrine check it out, whether you are Christian, Muslim Hindi or athist that is pretty odd...still want to vote for him

    October 17, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Kev

      I suggest that you check it out because there was no magic hat. You can go to LDS.org to find out about what Latter-Day-Saints really believe.I

      October 17, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  6. deb

    So Mitt believes Joseph Smith translated a golden tablet by looking in a hat...that IS Mormon doctrine ...still want to vote for him

    October 17, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • deb

      Billy Graham sold out.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  7. judy

    I grew up in a church that taught me mormonism was a cult because they did not believe in the trinity they did not believe the bible to be the true and only word of god that jesus did not reappear after the crufixacation in america and that we do not go to anothet planet when we die. Now the church has changed it's views. So does thst mean what I was taught was wrong? Or do christians now have no backbone?? Either they are a cult or they aren't either way I think religion needs to stay out of politics because it is obvious the flip flop just like the republican candidate.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  8. End Religion

    The universe is 13.72 billion years old.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • loucozz

      Who told you that?

      October 17, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • End Religion

      It was either a fortune cookie or Lawrence Krauss. I can't recall...

      October 17, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • loucozz

      How does Mr. Krauss know? I'll answer: He has a belief system, and formulates his measurement tools around it. You do realize you would be arguing a flat earth with me if it where a few hundred years ago, yet I would have the same stance. Few more years back, you would be telling me the earth was on a dinosaurs back, yet I would have the same stance. Hmmm?

      October 17, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • End Religion

      @lou: At some point, to progress, we have to build on the knowledge we have. If we want to answer "what is 1 + 1" in Math class, we can't rely on anyone's beliefs about it or stop to debate the definition of the word "one" or "plus" with each calculation.

      Progress requires building on our collective knowledge. To do that we have to establish a way to prove an assumption by:
      1) asserting a hypothesis and its components
      2) testing the components for substantial supporting evidence, unsupported components go back to be refined
      3) either agree after successful testing that in our shared reality the hypothesis is now supported, or that overall unsupported components may mean the hypothesis fails
      4) for sake of ease many people call these tested and supported hypotheses "facts", but again that's just so that we can get on with progress. There may be some people who can show under the right conditions that 1 + 1 does not equal 2, but in order to function in a society we have to get on with calling supported hypotheses "facts".

      The issue at play here is that religious people are willing to agree to facts the world has established - until those facts cross into their delusion. Then they wiggle and worm, employ Ad Hoc Hypothesis until one of the debaters faints from exhaustion, then finally invoke magic to overcome the facts they don't like. Facts are not a belief system. They don't stop working at the doorway to religion.

      The bible has been shown as having very little if any historic value, and nearly zero factual content, despite what any church will tell you. If you rely only on the bible to make a point, that point is considered worthless because we've already proved the bible worthless as source material. We have to build on the knowledge we have. We cannot continually go back to square one with showing you the bible is false, especially when you will only invoke magic at the end of the discussion.

      Lawrence will explain it:

      If it makes you more inclined to view the video, Krauss discusses an embarrassing mistake by Hubble (who mistakenly calculated the universe as younger than the planet in 1929) which you may be able to twist into your religious beliefs if you can find a way. At least you'll be able to add it to your repertoire of "things to point to" to claim science is an "incorrect belief system". I'm just hoping you watch it and learn something.

      I don't know what I'd be arguing a few hundred years ago. I'm sure the majority of us would be just a dimwitted as they were before understanding the fact of evolution, before Galileo's heliocentrism, as dimwitted as creationists are who exist in the vaccuum of their self-imposed ignorance.

      You are committed to an unchanging stance because your argument depends on staying within the bounds of your ignorance. Science begins there as well but then we ask for verifiable evidence, and build on it to work ourselves free from ignorance. Your need for religion is great enough to bias any hope of escaping your "blissful" state. I understand your fear.

      Was the "earth on a dinosaur's back" ever scientific theory?

      October 17, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  9. WillieLove

    GOP will do whatever it takes to keep the Money in their pockets! Come on Mitt leave your cult and stop serving the cult and turn to Christ. The only way....Obama you need to turn to God and up hold the Word of truth.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • deb

      Obama is a CHRISTIAN (not that I care). Why do you people continue to call him a Muslim?

      October 17, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  10. Winston5


    October 17, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  11. Dee

    Isn't that rather convenient for Romney. The Graham's aren't too biased are they? Do they receive any tax free privileges because of their religion?

    October 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  12. Reality

    The Grahams should first apologize for ripping off their "non-profits" with their combined salaries of $1.2 million/yr. And they should also be sued for their religious con based on flawed theology and history.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • WillieLove


      October 17, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  13. Frank

    Sorry Graham Mormons is not a Christianity .
    And you are not a man of God .

    October 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • boomboom

      Where the heck is the Planet Kolob ?

      October 17, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • deb

      Graham must be getting "old". For years his religion referred to Mormons as a "cult". Now, all of a sudden since he's backing Romney Mormons are "mainstream". What a crock.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Young

      Mr. Graham, you just lost my respect. How can you remove Mormon from the cult list? Did you forget about Revelation 22:18 – "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book."

      October 17, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  14. Journey

    Now even our elders have to grovel and sell their convictions to pay the rent...and who's economic policies turned the American people into such monsters. Answer: he is sitting at 1600 Penn. Ave.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • DLM

      Actually, that is not true. Big megachurches hide behind the "non-profit" label. Graham's organization and others like it do not have to pay a dime in taxes, so they should be better off than the rest of us.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  15. H R Mickelson

    Why???? All of a sudden mormons are OK, very strange for a hard right religious person. Politics it is a joke, and so is Romney.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • deb


      October 17, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  16. SomeGuy

    I wonder how much that cost Romney.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  17. Jason

    Have been a believer since I was 10 and have always had the utmost respect for Rev. Graham. He just lost it all after this fiasco of a meeting with this Cult leader. Sorry Rev. Graham you should have continued your life tradition of being bipartisan. I think you are having a some dementia and your radical son is influencing you now. So sad.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:55 pm |

    I feel sorry for atheist, what hopeless creatures.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Jesus is dead.

      When the hell are stupid theists going to learn that the plural form of atheist is atheists.

      October 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Athy

      Don't feel sorry for us "atheist", we're doing just fine with the truth.

      October 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • David

      Sorry to bust your bubble, but we are not the deficient ones. Our life perspective is not hindered by ages of smothering dogma that seeks to preserve Humanity's premier position in the Universe. We look at all 'Creation' and see that we are only a part of the Universe, not it's meaning for existence. We are not obsessed with such humano-centric beliefs. We do good because that is the right thing to do, not because some ancient book tells us what is right and wrong – especially when those books are so often so wrong in what they teach. We are the enlightened ones, not you.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  19. loucozz

    Rather their is a clear distinction between a christian cult & the faith. If Jesus Christ is God, Died for our sins and rose again it is the faith. If the bible is the clear word of God it is the faith. If repentance & believing in Jesus is the only way to heaven, by Gods full grace and not good deeds it is the faith Any other way, any other Jesus, any other inspired book with a message from Jesus, is a cult. Now as far as religion and cults being a fraud that is an individual opinion.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Jesus is dead.

      Have you ever considered a class in Logic ? An education ? Or just learning the definition of "non sequitur" ?

      October 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • loucozz

      What is not logical about that statement sir 🙂

      October 17, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • TomCom

      I'm an athiest. I guess I'm just not a real american. You have to be a christian to be an american, right?

      October 17, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • loucozz

      Tom. You are a real American for sure. Your belief or lack their of does not define your citizenship or your fate. The truth does define it. I can say I do not believe in atheists, but it does not matter, they exists or they don't. You can believe in God or not, he either exits or he does not. Your belief does not play a role in that.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Jesus is Dead.

      "Rather their is a clear distinction between a christian cult & the faith. If Jesus Christ is God, Died for our sins and rose again it is the faith."

      "Rather" than what ?
      "their" should be "there".
      "if Jesus Christ is god...bla bla.."it is the faith", implies something *else* being referenced. What is being referenced? It's meaningless drivel.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  20. erik

    Athy, You really think it's that simple don't you? And you call yourself educated?

    October 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Athy

      I never called myself educated. I question your level of education based on the way you write, the only clue i have available.

      October 16, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.